Tennessee Marijuana Laws

The possession and sale of any amount of marijuana is illegal in Tennessee, and potential penalties vary by the amount possessed or sold.

Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. In Tennessee, marijuana is classified as a Schedule VI substance, which means that it has a low potential for dependency or abuse. However, despite this classification, Tennessee has not legalized marijuana for medical purposes and imposes harsh penalties for marijuana possession, use, and sales. While not covered in this article, it is a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Tennessee.

Is Weed Legal in Tennessee? Does Tennessee Have Medical Marijuana?

No. Tennessee is one of the few states where marijuana remains an illegal controlled substance for all purposes. Neither recreational nor medicinal use is allowed.

Products containing low-THC cannabidiol or CBD oil (less than 0.9% tetrahydrocannabinol) are excluded from the definition of marijuana but only if prescribed by a doctor for an approved medical condition.

(Tenn. Code §§ 39-17-402, 39-17-415 (2022).)

What Are the Penalties for Simple Possession and "Casual Exchange" of Marijuana in Tennessee?

It is a crime to possess marijuana in Tennessee. It is also illegal to "causally exchange" (that is, to give away or sell) up to and including ½ of an ounce of marijuana. Penalties vary according to the conviction, and increased penalties apply to offenses involving a minor. In addition to the penalties described below, a judge may order the defendant to participate (at the defendant's expense) in a drug offender school, perform community service hours, or both.

Simple possession and exchange offenses are Class A misdemeanors. For a first conviction, penalties include up to a year in jail, a fine of at least $250 and as much as $2,500, or both. The same potential penalties apply for a second conviction, except that the minimum fine is $500. And for a third conviction, the minimum fine rises to $1,000.

(Tenn. Code §§ 39-17-418, 39-17-419, 39-17-428, 39-35-111 (2022).)

What Are the Penalties for Cultivating or Selling Marijuana in Tennessee?

It is illegal to cultivate or sell marijuana or hashish (or possess marijuana or hashish with the intent to do so) in Tennessee. Penalties vary according to the amount cultivated or sold, with increased penalties for sales to a minor or within a drug-free school zone.

  • Between ½ ounce and 10 pounds of marijuana; or up to 2 pounds of hashish. The offense is a Class E felony, and penalties include a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to $5,000, between one and six years in prison, or both.
  • Between 10 and 70 pounds of marijuana; between 2 and 4 pounds of hashish; or between 10 and 19 marijuana plants. The offense is a Class D felony, and penalties include a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to $50,000, between 2 and 12 years in prison, or both.
  • Between 4 and 8 pounds of hashish; or between 20 and 99 marijuana plants. The offense is a Class C felony, and penalties include a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to $100,000, between 3 and 15 years in prison, or both.
  • Between 70 and 300 pounds of marijuana; between 8 and 15 pounds of hashish; or between 100 and 499 marijuana plants. The offense is a Class B felony, and penalties include a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to $200,000, between 8 and 30 years in prison, or both.
  • 300 pounds or more of marijuana; more than 15 pounds of hashish; or 500 or more marijuana plants. The offense is a Class A felony, and penalties include a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to $500,000, between 15 and 60 years in prison, or both.

(Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-17-417, 39-17-418, 39-17-428, 39-35-111 (2022).)

What Are the Drug Paraphernalia Laws in Tennessee?

It is illegal in Tennessee to manufacture, sell, or use drug paraphernalia (or possess paraphernalia with the intent to do so). Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties for possession include a minimum fine of $150 and up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both. Selling paraphernalia may be punished with a fine of up to $3,000, between one and six years in prison, or both.

(Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-17-402, 39-17-425, 39-17-428, 39-35-111 (2022).)

What Is a Stamp Tax in Tennessee?

A stamp tax is a tax imposed on certain types of transactions that requires a stamp to be purchased and attached either to the item sold or to an instrument documenting the transaction.

In Tennessee, those who buy, transport, or import marijuana into Tennessee are required to pay a stamp tax and place the stamp (proof of payment) onto the contraband. However, because the possession of marijuana is illegal, people typically don't pay the stamp tax. When you are convicted for possession, you will also be liable for payment of the unpaid taxes ($3.50 for each gram or portion of a gram of marijuana, or $350 per marijuana plant). (Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-2803 (2022).)

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If you've been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. A local criminal defense attorney can guide you through the criminal legal process and tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.

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